Twins-White Sox Preview
In their first home game since the All-Star break, the Chicago White Sox broke out of their slump.
Jose Quintana is hopeful his teammates saved some offense for him Tuesday night when he faces the struggling Minnesota Twins.
After a 3-7 road trip that dropped Chicago out of first place in the AL Central, the White Sox (51-45) won Monday's series opener 7-4 to snap a five-game skid. Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios all homered for Chicago, which won for the eighth time in nine games at U.S. Cellular Field and moved back within one game of idle Detroit for first place.
"We've got two months of baseball, real meaningful baseball," Dunn said. "The goal is to get out of this little funk we're in now and when it matters get hot. Who knows what is going to happen?"
Dunn, who had been mired in a 2-for-29 slump, hit his major league-leading 29th homer, while Konerko hit his 15th and first in 19 games.
Although Konerko hasn't shown much power lately, he's batting .458 in his last seven contests. The All-Star first baseman had been one of the few White Sox swinging the bat well, as the team totaled nine runs while batting .195 during its skid.
Quintana (4-1, 2.30 ERA) is plenty familiar with those kinds of dismal offensive showings. He has surrendered two runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts, but has been backed by two runs or fewer six times.
Against Boston on Thursday, a combination of poor run support and a bullpen collapse prevented him from getting the win. He permitted five hits and no walks in eight shutout innings, but closer Addison Reed surrendered a walk-off, three-run homer to Cody Ross in a 3-1 loss.
It was the fourth time in his last six starts that the 23-year-old Quintana went eight innings, allowing no runs in three of those games and just one in the other. He got the win once and was left with a no-decision in the other three.
"He has a lot of poise for such a young kid," manager Robin Ventura said. "We're lucky to have him."
The Twins (40-56), losers of nine of 13, will be getting their first look at the rookie left-hander, and Josh Willingham is hopeful a fresh face can help him break out of his slump against White Sox pitching.
Willingham, Minnesota's leader with 23 homers and 68 RBIs, was hitless in five at-bats Monday and is 2 for 26 with 11 strikeouts in seven games in the season series.
Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.95) will get the start for the Twins after yielding a run and five hits in six innings against Baltimore on Thursday. The rookie right-hander exited with the lead, but the Orioles rallied for a 4-3 win, and Ron Gardenhire suggested that too many short starts might be taking their toll on an overworked bullpen.
De Vries has not thrown more than 96 pitches in any of his seven starts, and Gardenhire might consider stretching him out.
"I know it's one of those things as a starting pitcher that at times you need to do that," said De Vries, who has pitched more than six innings just once. "So why not get some experience and see how that works?"
De Vries made his major league debut May 24 at Chicago, going five-plus innings and yielding six runs - three earned - with solo homers to Konerko, Rios and A.J. Pierzynski in an 11-8 loss.